Turbo trainers and rollers allow you to train whatever the weather. They are also great for warming up for a race. A few quick advantages of turbo trainers
- Safe – protected from cars
- Allow you to do interval sessions uninterrupted by traffic lights e.t.c.
- Make it easier to measure performance (you can isolate more factors like wind)
What to Look for in a Turbo Trainer
- Matches your existing road bike set up and feel
- Relatively quiet
- Easy to assemble, carry to race and put bike in.
- Variable resistance settings so you can train for high cadence / low cadence.
Some of the Best Turbo Trainers
Lemond Revolution Turbo Trainer
- This is most innovative turbo trainer since it was invented. Rather than putting wheel on a roller, you simply remove your back wheel and put your chain onto a cassette which is hooked up to a turbo resistance and lock in rear dropouts. This enables you to replicate the feel of riding a road bike exactly.
- There is a progressive resistance, the faster you pedal the more resistance comes so there is a natural change, not the jerky feel you get with many turbos
- The frame is very stable and so is best turbo for sprinting and out of the saddle work – useful for warm ups.
- Fits all road bikes, though you need an adapter for Campagnolo.
- Is heavy and bulkier at 32lbs (14KGs) – it doesn’t fold up so small as other turbos
- It is quiet expensive, unless you use it a lot.
- It is noisier than other turbos. There are several places (e.g. early morning warm ups) where you couldn’t use this.
- You can’t use your hub based power meter or speedometer. (You can buy their power meter computer)
- Lemond Fitness Turbo trainer at Wiggle (list price £400)
Elite Chrono Fluid Turbo Trainer
- It is very quiet, this is probably one of quietest turbos you can find.
- It has a helped a 45mm flywheel roller which helps make it quiet and smooth.
- Gives a very good riding feel.
- 5 different levels of resistance.
- It comes pre-assembled and is easy to carry.
- There are different models of the Elite Chrono. This Elite Chrono Fluid is most expensive. But, cheaper versions such as the Elite Chrono Mag are still very quiet.
- Looks good
- Can vary resistance with adapter on front handlebars.
- Relatively quiet though not as quiet as the Elite Chrono
- Taxc Satori High Power at Wiggle (currently £175.99)
Cycle Ops Rollers
Rollers offer a slightly different experience to a turbo, you don’t have to make any modifications, just get on bike (and with a little help to retain balance as you get going) start pedalling. These aluminium Cycle Ops Rollers are is £175.
- Rollers help improve bike handling
- Give more realistic feel
- Are relatively quiet
- bigger and heavier to carry around
- Can be difficult to get started and stop – you may need something to give balance
- At low speed and low cadence harder to maintain balance – not great for low rev power training sessions.
- Cycle Ops Rollers at Wiggle
Cheapest Turbo Trainers
You don’t have to spend over £100 on a turbo. A basic turbo can do the job for less than £100
This Elite Volare is a basic aluminium frame with mag resistance. I’ve used a similar version to this for quite a few years. It suits my needs and does everything I want to. Personally, I’d rather save my money on turbos and spend on lightweight tubulars. But, then I don’t spend all winter training on one.
Elite Volare £89.99 at Evans Cycles
Make sure you know what you want from a turbo
- Does it need to be quiet? – get a mag flywheel like Elite Chrono
- Does it need to be portable – Elite Volare basic aluminium
- Do you need to spend a lot of money? – not necessarily you can get one for less than £100
- Variable resistance is definitely helpful
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